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May. 15th, 2017 05:58 am
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Hello and welcome to Lily's Reviews!

I like to read a lot of books and many different genres.

I will consider all requests, but sometimes it may take me longer to post reviews than I would like - and I apologize for that!

The links below is where I may be found online:
Amazon Storefront

If you would like to request a review, my e-mail address is: gabbylraines@gmail.com

Thank you for stopping by.

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Blurb: Join Becca Flannigan and Nick Ciotti as they promise to love, honor and cherish each other in front of their family and friends…and her baby bump! The blushing bride-to-be is carrying double duty—twins—from one passionate night with a mysterious bad boy. When Becca lands in the hospital, who should treat her but Nick? He's the new doc in town, but his bedside manner is all too familiar…

Becca and Nick begin to bond, but can Dr. Delicious leave his painful past behind him to create a family of his own? Add in Becca's worries about her own future, and you've got one apprehensive engagement! With a little Christmas magic for the bride and groom, this may be the happiest-ever-after in Celebration!

Review: His Texas Christmas Bride is a good story and a very nice addition to Ms. Thompson's Celebrations, Inc. series.

Becca Flanigan and Nick Ciotti meet again three months after a memorable night spent together...and she is carrying his children. Nick has a past that leaves him very unsure about having a family. Becca has worries of her own. Could the two of them have a mutual meeting of the minds to go forward toward a brighter future?

The book was a great read and makes for a wonderful holiday story. The characters move the story along as they work through their issues - together and alone.

Received from author for an honest reviews.
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Blurb: Phaedra, a dutiful daughter of Rome’s most influential senator, has no choice but to marry a man chosen by her father. But a chance encounter with handsome gladiator Valens Secundus sends her pulse racing—and, for the first time, makes her wish she could choose her own fate. They make each other a promise: she’ll insist on having the right to select her next husband, and he’ll do everything within his power to win his freedom.

A gladiatorial champion, Valens has fought his way up from poverty to become a star in the arena. The only two things he craves are his freedom and the luscious Phaedra, both seemingly far out of reach. But four years after their fateful meeting, Phaedra returns to Rome and soon becomes a widow, and Valens answers to no one but himself. They’re finally free to explore their fiery passion—while evading a powerful and wealthy new suitor of Phaedra’s—until Valens must return to the arena one last time. And in order for Phaedra to control her own destiny and claim her love, Valens will need to survive the battle of his life.

Review: Two dissimilar social worlds collide when Valens Secundus, a champion gladiator, and Phaedra, a senator's daughter, meet at her wedding to Senator Marcus. A chance encounter leads to a promise - Valens to secure his freedom and for Phaedra to gain the right to choose her next husband. Both paths are difficult - albeit not impossible - in Rome in the late second century BC.

What follows is a story of the somewhat winding way in which they fulfill both promises and how obstacles keep getting thrown in their way.

The Gladiator's Mistress is a story of rising above circumstances (social, familial, and personal), of obsession, love, and courage.

Good read.

(Blurb and image (c)Jennifer D. Bokal)
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Blurb: The Courtesan is an astonishing tale inspired by the real life of a woman who lived and loved in the extraordinary twilight decades of the Qing dynasty. To this day, Sai Jinhua is a legend in her native land of China, and this is her story, told the way it might have been.

The year is 1881. Seven-year-old Jinhua is left an orphan, alone and unprotected after her mandarin father’s summary execution for the crime of speaking the truth. For seven silver coins, she is sold to a brothel-keeper and subjected to the worst of human nature. Will the private ritual that is her father’s legacy and the wise friendship of the crippled brothel maid be enough to sustain her?

When an elegant but troubled scholar takes Jinhua as his concubine, she enters the close world of his jealous first wife. Yet it is Jinhua who accompanies him--as Emissary to the foreign devil nations of Prussia, Austro-Hungary, and Russia--on an exotic journey to Vienna. As he struggles to play his part in China's early, blundering diplomatic engagement with the western world, Jinhua’s eyes and heart are opened to the irresistible possibilities of a place that is mesmerizing and strange, where she will struggle against the constraints of tradition and her husband’s authority and seek to find “Great Love.”

Sai Jinhua is an altered woman when she returns to a changed and changing China, where a dangerous clash of cultures pits East against West. The moment arrives when Jinhua’s western sympathies will threaten not only her own survival, but the survival of those who are most dear to her.

A book that shines a small light on the large history of China’s relationship with the West, The Courtesan is a novel that distills, with the economy of a poem, a woman’s journey of untold miles to discern what is real and abiding.

Review: From protected child to a brothel's money tee to concubine of a scholar to traveling to Prussia with the then emissary and back to China, Alexandra Curry's The Courtesan is a sweeping tale of a girl who is transformed into a woman during a troubled period in China's history.

It is a story of finding friendship during the most trying of times, of sacrificing yourself and sometimes - inadvertently - others, and of finding redemption. It is also a journey to find what is real and what is not, how truth may come too late, and how patience can be projected even if the opposite is felt.

I enjoyed reading The Courtesan very much. Ms. Curry's writing brings the characters and time period alive for the reader (or at least for this reader). The books is complete in and of itself. However, I would have liked to know more about what happened to Sai Jinchua after her return to Suzhou with the boy. The author's note was also very much appreciated for the character's historical context.

(Blurb and image (c)Penguin Random House)
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Blurb: Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community. With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of Blessing. Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.

Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse. She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.

Review: Ms. Snelling's tale is wonderfully told through her setting, characters, and story.

About the only issue I had with the book is that there seemed to be a bit of a disconnect between the blurb and the story itself.

For me, as a reader, the story - according to the blurb - didn't start until about halfway in and the ending left a few loose ends.

It felt more like I would have to wait for the next book in the series rather than a book in and of itself.

(Blurb and image (c)Lauraine Snelling)
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Blurb: Gaspar is a lonely, little ghost who is lactose intolerant and lives in a vacant house. When the house is sold and Mr. and Mrs. Stone move in with their two young boys, he is thrilled to finally have a family.

He tries and tries to get their attention but gives up and goes to bed when he realizes they can’t see him. Before he falls asleep, however, Gaspar learns that good things can come when you least expect them. And sometimes, wishes really do come true.

Review: Neat story for children about a lactose intolerant ghost that no one could see.

Then he "meets" the new family that has moved into the house he haunts. After trying to get the family to see him, the only one who can see him is Hayden (the youngest family member).

Nice story about making new friends in the unlikeliest of ways.

(Image and blurb (c)Teresa Burrell)
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Today, Lily's Reviews has a guest interview with Sarah Nicolas.......

Lily's Reviews: What is the biggest accomplishment you have achieved as a writer to date? The thing that made you feel like you hit a big goal?

Sarah Nicolas: For me, I think it’s always the most recent achievement that feels like the biggest. I don’t think I’m alone in this. It started with actually finishing a book, then sending my first query letter, then getting my first request, then getting my first personalized rejection, then writing another book and so on through getting an agent, getting multiple publishing contracts, getting a contract with an advance, hitting #1 in my category on Amazon. Mainly, I’m most proud of myself for not yet giving up because this can be a difficult business.

LR: How do you come up with character names?

SN: OMG, I am OBSESSED with character names. I think I spend more time on this than on plotting (don’t tell my editor). Every now and then I get a name stuck in my head that I just love (like Riya from KEEPING HER SECRET) and it’s quick and easy, but most of the time it is a process. I create excel spreadsheets with lists of names and research their origins and meanings and references in literature, TV, and movies. I scour baby name websites and check their historical and geographical popularity.

LR: If you could bring one character into real life and have a conversation with them which one would it be and why?

SN: No character has ever fascinated me as much as Bartimaeus from Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy. I read those books ten years ago but still haven’t found anyone else I’d rather have a conversation with in fiction. He is an ancient demon full of snark and wit.

LR: What does your writing day look like?

SN: I’m more of a marathon writer than an every-day writer. I work a full-time job and have a very active life, so I have to schedule writing sessions into my week. I work best with several hours at a time set aside for writing. I have friends who write an hour a day and it works wonderfully for them, but it’s not for me.

I have to have caffeinated beverages and snacks, unless I’m working late at night, then I love to have wine when I write. My writing brain works best from about 9 PM until about 3 AM.

LR: Is there any book that you would rewrite if you could?

SN: Like completely rewrite?

LR: When you are writing and you feel a bit stuck, what do you do for inspiration or to reset yourself back into the groove?

SN: It depends on whether I’m on deadline or not. Ha! If I’m on deadline, I usually just write through it, knowing that I can go back and rewrite or cut the stuff that’s not good. Honestly, it usually takes just a page or two of forcing it to get me back in the groove.

Having said that, I should probably do the same thing when I’m not on deadline, but I don’t. I often take long walks with my dog to reset my brain. Or I get distracted by twitter and lose a lot of writing time. Don’t do that. It’s not helpful.

LR: Who or what (if anything) do you listen to when writing and who is your favorite musician/genre of music to listen to?

SN: My writing music preferences are basic AF, because I find it helpful to listen to music where the emotions are really on the surface and also music with a strong, dancy beat. So I’m all about pop like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and Selena Gomez.

LR: What is coming up next for you, writing wise?

SN: I’m working on a new Young Adult about a girl who does high school robotics. It’s a romance :-P

Thank you so much for the wonderful interview!

Sarah Nicolas may be found at the following places:
Sarah Nicolas Site
Book Riot
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Lily's Reviews is hosting an excerpt of One Tough Cowboy by Lora Leigh and Veronica Chadwick!


Always the gentleman.

He hadn’t changed much. He seemed bigger, his shoulders broader. His signature thick, black hair was cut in a shorter style. As he got closer, Samantha noticed his face had changed quite a bit. Any boyish softness he’d once had was all gone and had been replaced with hard planes and angles, except for his full, well-defined lips. There were fine laugh lines fanning out from the corners of his steel gray eyes. Those eyes were more intense, hard. The easy laughter that lit them when he was younger seemed to be gone.

“Ms. Bell.” He nodded in greeting to the diminutive lady.

“Good of you to come by, Sheriff. Little Samantha is handlin’ all this by herself.” She winked and patted his arm. “She could use a little help, I’m thinkin’.”

Samantha wanted to walk away. She also wanted to throw her arms around Hunter and hold on for dear life. Not just because he still made her heart pound, but because he was a part of her life she thought she’d lost. She wanted to hold on to a stable, warm part of her past where she was happy and safe. Seeing him again brought those memories and emotions all rushing back.

“Hey, Sam.” The smooth, deep bass of his voice was quiet and soothing.

“Hey, Hunter.” His name left her lips with more composure than she felt.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the funeral, but I wanted to come by to extend my condolences, and to see how you’re doin’.” He stepped closer and rubbed her bare upper arm. “You holdin’ up okay?” His hand, a bit rough and callused from real work, was warm, reassuring.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m okay, Hunter, thank you.” She cleared her throat. “Everyone brought food. The dining room table is overflowing. Help yourself.”

He followed her through the living room to the dining room. She turned and almost jumped back. He was standing inches away, looking down at her. His brows furrowed, his gaze sharply assessing her. He smelled incredible, and he stood so close she could feel the heat from his body.

She opened her mouth to say something but forgot what she wanted to say. She must look completely ignorant gaping up at him like that.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” Sympathy and concern shadowed his expression, softening the harsher lines of his face.

“It’s been a long day. I’m fine, really.” She was a basket case, and not just because of her aunt’s death.

Hunter gave her a gentle smile and pulled out a chair. “No doubt. Sit and talk to me for a while. I haven’t seen you in what? Ten years?”

Samantha welcomed the chance to get off her feet and get away from the crowd for a bit. “Yeah, about ten years, I think.”

He pulled out the chair beside her, turned it toward her, and sat, staring at her solemnly. “I’m real sorry about Dottie.”

“Me too.” She looked into his eyes, assessing whether she could or should continue. “I really didn’t get enough time with her. I’ll always regret that.”

Hunter shook his head. “Sam, you know Dottie thought the world of you. She knew you loved her and she loved you.”

Had she? Samantha couldn’t help but question the observation. School, her career, and far too many emotions had seemed to always get in the way of returning to Deerhaven.

“Yes, I know, but I look around at these people and think of how some of them probably knew her even better than I did, her own niece.” Samantha frowned and gestured toward a blue-haired woman sitting on the couch sobbing, clutching another woman’s hand. “Mrs. Holt is devastated.”

She obviously had not talked to her aunt on the phone enough either, because Dottie had never mentioned the other woman.

A small smile touched Hunter’s far-too-sensual lips as he lowered his head and leaned closer. “Sam, Irene Holt never even met Dottie. She attends any and all funerals and wails and carries on like that at every one of ’em.” Amusement touching his gaze.

Samantha looked at him incredulously until he raised his hand and said, “Hand to God. Every one of ’em.”

“Wow.” No wonder her aunt Dottie had never mentioned the other woman.

“Yep.” Hunter’s smile broadened. “As for the rest of them, they’re just being neighborly or nosy. Most of ’em still remember your family and you. You were pretty hard to forget . . . Pixie Pest.” His brows lifted playfully. Teasingly.

Samantha narrowed her eyes. “Ugh. That nickname. I don’t know which is worse, that or Sami Jo.”

She protested it. Just as she always had. That flare of warmth she felt whenever it passed his lips was still there, though.

“You earned it.”

“Psh, whatever.” She’d actually worked at it at the time.

Hunter chuckled and she nearly sighed. Lord, she’d missed his laugh, his smile, even the way he’d tease her. She’d missed him.

“Aw, you know I was always fond of you, Pixie. You were a great kid, even if you were a pest that was constantly following me around and giving my girlfriends hell.”

She had been such a tomboy with wild, young girl fantasies of being swept off her feet by the cutest boy in Deerhaven, or the whole wide world, for that matter. He’d called her his Pixie Pest whenever he’d seen her and tugged at her long, tangled hair.

“I’m not a kid anymore.” She held his gaze and couldn’t imagine how she’d gotten so bold.

Hunter’s gaze traveled over her body, a single black brow arching slowly in acknowledgment. “I’ve noticed. I’m trying really hard to remember what a pain in the ass you used to be.”

Samantha lifted a brow. “I can still be a pain in the ass.”

“I bet you can.” The look in his eyes was making her feel way too hot, way too needy.

She didn’t want to go there. Not now. After Tom Novak, the very last thing she needed was another relationship. Besides all that, she was here to get answers, not to get laid.

Clearing her throat again, she changed the subject to the one on which she had to keep her focus. “Hunter, what really happened to Aunt Dottie?”

His smile faded and his gaze sharpened. “What do you mean?”

“Aunt Dottie had a sharp mind. She didn’t overdose accidently, no way in hell would she overdose on purpose. What happened?”

Hunter never broke eye contact. “We’re in a cornfield, Sam.”

It took her a minute to realize he meant there were too many ears around.

“Fine. I’ll ask you this question again later. But, just so you know, I’m not leaving Deerhaven until I get the answer.”

Hunter nodded. “Understood.”

Samantha stood. “I’m being rude sitting here. I better go mingle. Please, get yourself something to eat and fix a plate to take home.”

His lopsided smile gave her pause as he stood and took a plate from the stack. “There’s iced tea in the kitchen. Make yourself at home,” she added warily.

With a deep breath, she turned away and walked into the living room. There stood William Henderson, shaking hands with everyone, his practiced smile in place. He wore expensive suits and kept his hair slicked back and combed over to hide his bald spot. He thought himself attractive and carried himself like he was the king of everything.


First in a brand-new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh and Veronica Chadwick about one man’s pursuit of justice—and unbridled desire.


For as long as Samantha can remember, Hunter—a man as strong as steel, with a heart of gold—has been her hero. It came as no surprise to Samantha when she found out that the ranch-hardened cowboy who always protected her from bullies went on to become the town’s sheriff. What does surprise her is how incredibly hot he still is. And how much she still wants him…


And, lo and behold, Hunter still has feelings for Samantha. The long-smoldering heat of their innocent flirtation has grown into a full-raging fire. But when tragedy strikes, and their small-town community is shattered, Hunter vows to do everything he can to keep his childhood sweetheart safe. But can Samantha trust that Hunter has her best interests at heart…and that, after all these years, his love is true?

To buy One Tough Cowboy

About the Authors:
Lora Leigh
#1 New York Times bestseller Lora Leigh is the author of the Navy SEALS, the Breeds, the Elite Ops, the Callahans, the Bound Hearts, and the Nauti series.

Veronica Chadwick
Veronica Chadwick started storytelling when she was a little girl. She was first published in 2004. She lives in Tennessee with three cats, a very spoiled Shih Tzu and two grand dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with friends, reading or badly playing video games.
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Blurb: Ragoczy Ferenz, Grof Szent-Germain is busy in Europe, getting his publishing and shipping businesses working again when he encounters an American professor from Tulane who has fled the US under a cloud of paranoid suspicion that she is a Communist sympathizer. Through Charis Treat, Szent-Germain meets a group of American academics living away from home, all with similar stigmas attached to their teaching; they call themselves the Ex-Pats' Coven becuase they are the victims of a witch hunt. In America, a CIA bureaucrat, eager for advancement, has come up with a story that will gain him a promotion, one that involves the Ex-Pats' Coven, and Szent-Germain, who has gladly taken manuscripts from Coven members for publication through Eclipse Press, and is suspected of bring a Russian agent. Szent-Germain's relationship with Charis becomes complex, and turns dangerous as the plot of the CIA bureaucrat creates more danger for everyone in the Coven, and Charis Treat is in the most danger of all.

Review: It has been some time since I have read on of Ms. Yarbro's St. Germain books, and her writing is as good as I remembered.

While Sustenance is more contemporary - relatively speaking - than her other books, the storytelling weaves a rich tapestry of characters, time period, and location that makes the reader become a part of the story.

As with other books in the series, Ms. Yarbro brings the time period alive through the characters she writes. I have a nodding acquaintance with the McCarthy inquiries through a couple of classes, but Ms. Yarbro brought a more personal aspect of that time period through the character of Charis Treat and how it affected her home life.

Another great read from a wonderful author.

Received in exchange for an honest review.

(Blurb (c)Chelsea Quinn Yarbro; Image (c)Macmillan)
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes Tawdra Kandle with a guest post about her latest release - Your Wildest Dreams. Welcome, Ms. Kandle!

I never planned to write Zelda and Tuck’s story.

Back in 2010, I began to write what later became the first three books of the Keeping Score series—the story of Nate, Quinn and Leo. Those three characters were based on something real, on people I knew—and I never intended the story to go beyond them.

However, as is usually the case for me, several sets of side characters popped up—and they turned out to be as compelling as the main trio. There were six who intrigued me enough to consider additional sequels to When We Were Us, Hanging By A Moment and Days of You and Me. Gia and Tate had their chance in Not Broken Anymore. Gideon and Sarah will have their day in Sway. But between those two books came Your Wildest Dreams.

Zelda first sashayed into my life when Quinn needed a college roommate. I intended that girl to be fairly non-descript and quiet. Ha!! All of a sudden, Zelda Porter leaped onto the scene, bigger than life, with an attitude and a capacity for loyalty and friendship that blew me away. Right after her intro, she had a strong reaction to Nate’s roommate—and I knew why. I knew how Zelda and Eli Tucker knew each other. But I couldn’t tell anyone yet—we were in the middle of Hanging By A Moment, and it was clear that these two needed their own book.

I often tell readers that I live with the characters for months or even years before I actually write their stories, and it’s true. I lived with Tuck and Zelda for several years, and over that time, Tuck was very talkative, but Zelda was not. She revealed her background and details to me sparingly and almost grudgingly. And odd as it sounds, it seemed that once she had shared something particularly deep, she fell silent for long periods. I couldn’t move on—until she was ready.

When the beta readers began delving into Your Wildest Dreams, I wasn’t certain what to expect. After all, this was basically the third telling of the same time period, just with different points of view and different priorities. But to my relief and joy, the readers realized how much they loved Zelda, in particular, and Tuck and Zelda as a couple. They saw the same events from a fresh perspective. And it all worked.

I’ve seldom written a character as nuanced and complex as Zelda . . . but it was completely worth the exercise. I’m very excited that their story really isn’t over—the two of them will be part of a spin-off series set at Birch College, where Tuck will be the new assistant coach for the football team. I can’t wait to visit with them again and meet an all new cast of characters to challenge me.

Thank you, Ms. Kandle, for stopping by and talking a little bit about how Your Wildest Dreams came about.

Your Wildest Dreams Info

I don’t do love.

I don’t do relationships.

But then Eli Tucker came back into my life.

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

When Eli Tucker meets Zelda Porter on the first day of their college freshman year, he thinks she’s vaguely familiar. But he’d remember a woman like her, wouldn’t he? Zelda’s blonde, built and beautiful . . . just Tuck’s type, back when he had a type. Back when he was a football star. Back before he snapped his spine and ended up paralyzed.

Zelda’s memory of her first encounter with Tuck is all too vivid, but that was a long time and many guys ago. She’s not interested in long term or love. Men exist to meet a temporary need, and that’s all she wants. Even if Eli Tucker still stirs something in her heart, she can’t afford the pain that might come from allowing him closer.

Still, even though Tuck can’t run for touchdowns anymore, he knows what wins the game: Hold on tight to what matters most. Use the element of surprise to your advantage. Fight like hell for every down.
And, no matter what, never give up.

Buy Links:
Apple Books

Tawdra Kandle may be found on her site, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram
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Today, Lily's Reviews is hosting an excerpt from Olivia Drake's The Duke I Once Knew.

First, a little bit about the book:

Award-winning author Olivia Drake begins her new Unlikely Duchesses series with THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; December 31, 2018). With compelling characters and skillful plot twists, Drake’s latest novel will take your breath away.

First love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again.

Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him … even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

About the Author:
Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, Never Trust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by the Prince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the Golden Heart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from Romantic Times. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, TX.

You can purchase this book here.

Author Website
Author Twitter: @OliviaDrake1
Author Facebook: Olivia Drake

SMP Romance Twitter: @SMPRomance or @heroesnhearts
SMP Romance Website: Heroes & Heartbreakers

And, now, for the excerpt:

The sounds of cooing and kissing mortified her. Good heavens, would they never stop? Anyone might walk into
the library! They ought to have the decency to take their amorous activities upstairs to a bedchamber.

But, of course, Rothwell did not possess a shred of decency. It made her cringe to recall that she herself had once fallen prey to his allure.

She risked another look over the edge of the table. Her eyes goggled.

The duke was delving beneath the hem of his paramour’s gown, sliding his hand up her ankle and out of
sight. The ladybird squirmed and squealed in a frisky attempt at evasion. He leaned down and silenced her playful protests with a masterful kiss.

Abby sank back down again. Her pulse pounded and a blush heated her inside and out. She oughtn’t be so scandalized. Rothwell had a reputation as a notorious rake. Over the years, she had heard many a tale whispered among the neighbors of his disgraceful doings. Yet it was one thing to listen to idle gossip and quite another to actually witness him in the throes of depravity.

And here she was, trapped. What was she to do?

If she made her presence known, the duke would find out that Miss Abigail Linton was the new governess. She
could not be absolutely certain that he had forgotten her. And if he did remember, he surely would dismiss her on the spot, for he wanted nothing to do with her.

Her spirits fell into a fit of the dismals. That would mark the end of her little adventure out into the world. Oh, she could apply for a position elsewhere, but who would hire her if she’d been summarily discharged from her previous post? She would be forced to return to her brother’s house and resume her predictable life as the maiden aunt, growing withered and gray, shuttled between relatives, with no
real say in her future.

The very thought was suffocating.

Nevertheless, she could not continue to crouch here while the two lovers were smooching and whispering.
What if their intimate activities escalated? What if they did the deed right here, right now?

The horrid prospect spurred Abby to action. She must try to sneak out of the library unobserved. It was her only hope.

Dropping to her hands and knees, she crept along the carpet, weaving a path between the tables. Her long skirts hampered her progress, forcing her to inch along at a snail’s pace. Rothwell’s black boots were visible through a forest of chair legs. At least he was too distracted to notice her, judging by the amorous sounds emanating from across the room. To be safe,she made a wide berth around the couple.

Feverish plans raced through her head. If only she could reach the door and slip out, then all might be well. Perhaps she could convince Lady Gwendolyn not to mention the new governess to her brother. And what of Lady Hester? Was there a chance that she could be persuaded to bide her tongue, too? Should Abby confess the truth and enlist her help? Was it possible to stay out of sight until he departed the Court?

Sweet heaven, how long did he intend to stay?

In the midst of her meditations, she couldn’t help overhearing the syrupy drivel of their tête-à-tête.

“Your Grace, you are too bold! Such a naughty boy you are!”

“I left boyhood behind long ago. Shall I demonstrate?”

“Mm, no. You mustn’t . . . ah, yes. Yes!”

Abby grimaced under a tide of acute embarrassment. As she crawled closer to the door, she glared in the direction of the lovers. She could just see Rothwell’s legs pressed against a froth of cream skirts. Blast him and his debauchery! He was the worst of rogues, the king of scoundrels. A more wicked man had never been born—!

Too caught up in remonstrations to watch where she was going, Abby bumped her hip hard against a mahogany pedestal. A little squeak escaped before she could clap her hand to her mouth. At the same instant, a faint clanking noise drew her attention upward.

The globe atop the pedestal wobbled precariously. As she watched in horror, the sphere toppled from its perch and clunked onto the floor, where it rolled straight past the chairs and tables to land at Rothwell’s heels.

“What the devil—!”

Frozen in concealment, Abby watched wide-eyed through the maze of table legs as his boots shifted around.
A large male hand flashed down to stop the spinning of the globe. Any faint hope that he might assume it had
fallen of its own accord vanished in a millisecond.

Rothwell strode forward, his footfalls sharp and decisive. He came straight to her. To her great consternation, she found herself gazing at the polished black leather of his boots only a few inches away.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “What are you doing in here?”

Abby raised her chin only slightly, keeping her face averted. It was best that he didn’t gaze fully at her—or hear the normal pitch of her voice lest it trigger his memory. “I’m just a servant,” she whispered, “tending to my duties.”

“Speak up!Why did you not make your presence known at once?”

His dictatorial tone shredded her better judgment. “I was trying to leave discreetly,” she flared. “It didn’t strike me as wise to interrupt your tryst.” She paused, then added in a more servile tone, “I do beg your pardon, Your Grace.”

She felt his gaze boring down like a physical force that threatened to smother her. She wanted badly to look up, to glare into his face and tell him in no uncertain terms exactly what she thought of him.

But that would be highly imprudent.

With lightning swiftness, he clamped his hands around her upper arms and hauled Abby to her feet. She found
herself staring up into a pair of wintry gray eyes set in a face of unabashed masculinity. Although a dissipated life had hardened his expression and etched faint lines on either side of his mouth, he was more disturbingly handsome than ever. He also seemed taller and tougher, his chest broader and his shoulders wider.

She hated that he still had the power to make the breath catch in her throat. Worse, she hated that he had the authority to dismiss her with a snap of his arrogant fingers. As she racked her beleaguered brain for a way to convince him not to do so, something flickered in those icy eyes.


End of excerpt

Hope you enjoyed reading the excerpt from The Duke I Once Knew and I hope you will check the book out!
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes Lexi Post. Take it away, Ms. Post!

Lexi has a $25 Gift Card to giveaway during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may enter every day for your chance to win. You may find the tour locations here https://goo.gl/sPP5CV.

About One of a Kind Christmas:

For her to love him, he must face a spirit, an archangel…and himself.

The spirit of Cameron Douglas has totally screwed-up…again. Now, he has to fix his mess in one night with the help of his best friend and somehow encourage his widow to move on.

Holly Douglas is anguished that this is the last Christmas she’ll be visited by her late husband, Cameron. For three years he’s sent her the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and they‘ve helped her cope with her loss. But now all that ends, and she doesn’t understand why he must push her away.

Ethan Stewart has been in love with Holly since Cameron’s death, but she isolated herself from everyone, including him. Then something changed, and he was welcomed back as her friend. But he wants more— to love her openly, and most of all to make her happy again. Though he loved his best friend like a brother and will do anything for Holly, as he’s pulled into the spirit world, he discovers the price they must pay for their chance at forever…and it just might be too high.

Release Day: December 5, 2018

Buy Links for One of a Kind Christmas:

Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Amazon CA


He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before opening them. “I miss Cam. It was as if we were two parts of the same soul. I lived vicariously through him even while I worried constantly about him. It was one of the reasons I was constantly warning him to be careful. I was afraid to lose him.”

Ethan looked away and rubbed the back of his neck. “And then I did.”

She felt as if her heart were breaking all over again, not for her but for Ethan. He was so good to her. He even loved her. And she… “Ethan, I understand.”

His gaze returned to hers. Though she couldn’t see his face clearly, the limited light reflected off the sheen in his eyes.

She placed her hand on his cheek and rising on her toes brushed her lips across his in a feather-light kiss. She only meant to give comfort, but a spark of something else hit her heart.

She remained there, her lips close to his but not touching, wanting more but afraid to ask.

Ethan remained absolutely still, his breath mixing with her own.

He loved her but would never push her. It wasn’t his nature. She could walk away right now, but to what?


She stared at his mouth in the dim light. She wanted to live again. She wanted to feel again. Tilting her head, she pressed her lips more firmly against his, moving her hand down his stubbled jaw and behind his neck to pull him closer.

Ethan’s lips opened, and she slipped her tongue between them.

As his arms came around her, it was like waking from a dream. A slow burn flowed through her veins as he took control of the kiss and explored her mouth with his tongue. It was an unhurried exploration and heat built in her belly. When he pulled back to lick the underside of her top lip, she took her first deep breath. As she exhaled, tingles spread throughout her body.

He kissed the corners of her mouth before leaning his forehead against her own. “Ye catch my blood on fire, lass.”

Other Books in the Series:

A Christmas Carol Book 1, Pleasures of Christmas Past is on sale for only $.99!

Pleasures of Christmas Past (A Christmas Carol Book 1) by Post, Lexi

Jessica is assigned a hot, Scottish mentor who confuses her heart. But will he protect her soul?

Buy Links for Pleasures of Christmas Past:
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Amazon UK

Desires of Christmas Present (A Christmas Carol Book 2) by Lexi Post
Sometimes not knowing is better…for everyone.

Desires of Christmas Present Buy Link: Amazon

Temptations of Christmas Future (A Christmas Carol Book 3) by Lexi Post
He set out to prove the future was far worse than she imagined. Now he wished it wasn’t.

Temptations of Christmas Future Buy Link: Amazon

About the Author:

Lexi Post is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of romance inspired by the classics. She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe's short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she's read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.

But Lexi's first love is romance novels so she married her two first loves, romance and the classics. From hot paranormals to sizzling cowboys to hunks from out of this world, Lexi provides a sensuous experience with a “whole lotta story.”

Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you will never see her without a hat.

Lexi's Social Links:

Lexi Post Updates
Amazon Author Page

Thank you Ms. Post for stopping by Lily's Reviews!

Please be sure to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway to be found HERE
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes Lucienne Diver with a guest post about her new release: The Countdown Club
Welcome, Ms. Diver!

The Countdown Club is the story of five kids with little in common, all of whom receive notes with expiration dates⸻telling them they have Two Days to Die or Six Days to Die or… There’s already a forensics club at the school, formed largely to investigate an old case where the uncle of one of the members was convicted of a murder he may not have committed. Some of those threatened even have connections to the club, and the rest join up to try to find the killer before he picks them off one by one.

I chose two of the five as POV characters: Rayna Butler and Jack Harkness, who couldn’t be more different if they tried. Rayna is an artsy girl with blue hair who prefers to see the beauty in the world and tune out the darkness…until it comes for her. Jack doesn’t have nearly her idyllic life or view of the world. He was a different kid once, but that kid is long gone. When his brother Eric became sick with leukemia, his mother retreated into the bottle, his father became a ticking time-bomb, overloaded with anger, and Jack became both parent and punching bag. To introduce Jack the way he’s introduced in the book:

Shit, shit, shit. He was going to be late. Again. He didn't give two craps about that, but if the school called home to report him as tardy or a skip, his father would use it as yet another excuse for a beating. Not that Dad ever needed an excuse.

But every beating got Jack closer to using the bug-out bag he'd been stuffing for the last nine months—stealing change left on the counter, hoping it wouldn't be missed, shaking down kids here and there for their lunch money, once even grabbing a twenty sitting out in the open on a teacher's desk. That had been risky, but the risk had paid off, and he'd certainly needed it more than Mr. Jorgenson.

He'd have bugged out already if it weren't for his little brother. Jack knew he'd do okay on the street by himself. He was tough and good-looking. Women wanted him. Not arrogance, just fact. Whether they thought he was older or just didn't care, he'd had enough eyelashes batted and phone numbers slipped to him that he had no delusions there. He was sure he could find a soft heart out there somewhere. Women loved a bad boy. But Eric...he couldn't leave him behind undefended, and he couldn’t bring him along. His brother wouldn't do well out in the world. He needed medical treatment and health insurance and all kinds of things Jack couldn't give him.

As you can see, the last thing Jack needs is one more worry, like a note telling him that he has Twelve Days To Die. Suddenly, his brother’s life isn’t the only one hanging in the balance. He doesn’t take it all that seriously at first; he doesn’t figure it’s anything he can’t handle.

Until the first death, right on schedule.

He needs to solve the mystery and stop the murders. For himself, but most of all so that he can be there for Eric.

Maybe a little bit for Maria, the good girl he’s always known wasn’t for him. And if he didn’t know, she’s made it clear enough. Until they’re thrown together in the killer’s crosshairs, and finally have something in common.

The other Meddlers (members of the forensics club)…well, I hope you’ll pick up The Countdown Club and that you’ll get to meet them. Rayna, Reggie, Grace, Kali, Charlie, Evan. Those meddling kids.

The Countdown Club sounds like a very interesting read. Thank you, Ms. Diver, for stopping by and sharing.

The book is available at the following locations:
Barnes & Noble (Nook and paperback formats)

Amazon (Kindle format)

Books-a-Million (paperback format)
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes Alyssa Day to the blog with a special guest post - an excerpt from Christmas in Atlantis.

Welcome, Ms. Day!

Hello, Lily's Reviews readers! Happy holidays!! I'm trying not to stuff my face with leftover Halloween candy, and how is it that Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up so fast??? 2018 went by far too fast!

I know I could drone on and on about myself, but instead I thought I'd do something fun. I love to read "first kiss" scenes—the attraction, intensity, desire, sometimes laughter, and sometimes revelation of that first kiss make me sigh with happiness. So I thought I'd share one of mine!

Here is the scene from CHRISTMAS IN ATLANTIS where you'll see Dare, a pirate, and Lyric, a painter, share a first-if slightly addled by his fever—kiss. Enjoy!! You can find the book—which just won the prestigious Maggie award for outstanding romance fiction!--and another excerpt at https://alyssaday.com/books/christmas-in-atlantis/overview.

Happy holidays!

CHRISTMAS IN ATLANTIS, by Alyssa Day, excerpt:

Lyric sighed.

“Dare. Enough. You’re burning up. Let me get you some antibiotics. A big, fat needle filled with penicillin might take your mind off your libido—"

“Your ass,” he mumbled dreamily, and she could feel him smile against her neck.

“And off my ass,” she agreed, sighing.

“Kiss me.”

“What?” Surely he hadn’t said…

“Kiss me, and I’ll let you go get needles and pessanillin. Pennalissen. Parasillin. Whatever.”

“Deal,” she said, before she could have second thoughts about taking total advantage of an injured, delirious man. He had his hands on her ass, after all.

“Deal. Now. And on my lips,” he said firmly. “No cheating with forehead kissing.”

Lyric took a deep breath. She needed to steel herself for this, in spite of—or perhaps because—she’d wanted it for so long.

“Okay, you can kiss me now.”

He laughed. “No, my copper-eyed beauty. You have to kiss me.”

She summoned her nerve and pulled away from him a little bit; just enough to raise her head so she could reach his lips with her own.

Her brain and all parts much farther south were doing cartwheels at the idea that she was planning to kiss Dare, so she told them to calm the heck down. This was going to be a chaste, calming, gentle kiss with a closed mouth, offered just so he’d let her go get medicine for him.

She took a deep breath, and then she leaned forward and reached toward the sound of his voice with her fingertips. When she found his mouth, she traced it for a moment, finding it firm and unsmiling, his lips softening at her touch. She took another breath, as if preparing to dive into dangerous waters, and touched her lips to his.

And the world turned upside down.

The moment her lips met his, Dare tightened his arms on her and half-sat, half -rolled, until he had her beneath him, and then he took total control over what she’d laughingly—ridiculously—thought was a kiss. That wasn’t a kiss.

This was a kiss.

He didn’t take; he plundered. He teased and seduced; advanced and retreated. He kissed her with skill and hunger and that sense of barely leashed power that made her head spin. She slipped her arms around him and kissed him back, meeting him beat for beat, breath for breath.

She wondered, gloried, reveled in the feel of his hard body against hers and the taste of salt and spice of his mouth.

This was a kiss—and she dimly realized that, once it ended, she would never, ever be the same.

Thank you for stopping by and for the wonderful excerpt.

Ms. Day is also offering three signed copies of Christmas in Atlantis to commenters.
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes Amy Miles who has graciously provided a character interview for our readers. Welcome Ms. Miles and thank you for the wonderful interview!

Today we are sitting down with Avery and Cable, our power duo from WITHER, book 1 of author Amy Miles’ THE WITHERED SERIES to find out what surviving during a zombie apocalypse really feels like.

Interviewer: "Growing up on the streets is a hard way to live. Do you think learning to fend for yourself at a young age really helped prepare you for the apocalypse?"

Avery: "Sure. Not everyone grows up in a Leave it to Beaver sort of home. My mother wasn't exactly the best role model. She worked a lot, had a thing for bad guys and drowned her sorrows in the bottom of a bottle after my dad skipped town. My brother left not long after we moved to St. Louis so I was on my own a lot.

You learn some valuable lessons when you have to take care of yourself. Sometimes you do things that other people would snub their noses at just to eat. Sometimes you trust the wrong people. You learn by trial and fire. I guess that made me tougher than most girls when facing our new world."

Interviewer: What were your feelings when you first got your orders to deploy to St. Louis, MO to help control the rioting?

Cable: "Some pretty messed up shit as going down all over the place. St. Louis, New York, LA...didn't really matter where I was deployed. People were dying and I was sent to stop it."

Interviewer: "Why do you think you stuck by your mother's side after the world started falling apart? In the beginning you could have escaped without much trouble, yet you remained."

Avery: "I've asked myself that question more times than I can count. Obviously, there was no love shared between my mother and I. She and I were pretty much strangers in the same home. I avoided her and she liked that. It wasn't until her accident that left her in a coma that I actually spent any real time with her.

Part of me thinks maybe I stayed for closure. Maybe I just wanted her to wake up and admit that she'd wronged me. I don't know...it doesn't make sense, but then again, when has bitterness ever done so?"

Interviewer: Did you find it difficult to remain positive while you watched the world fall in decay?

Cable: "People do bad things, especially when they feel endangered. It doesn't take much to really see a person's character when their life is on the line. I've taken down some pretty vile creeps, but those aren't the ones who surprise me. It's the mom who turns on her own child, the brother who leaves his sister behind, the priest who sacrifices people on the streets and claims its salvation. It's sick."

Interviewer: "You went through quite a lot those first few days. Can you tell us a little about what you were thinking?"

Avery: "Honestly, I was shitting my pants most of the time and praying no one noticed. I'm not so good at letting people in, or needing them for that matter. I've always been a bit of a loner. I like my space. I like to be on my own. After Cable saved my life at the hospital and got me back on my feet, I was too stubborn to consider that he might actually be a good guy. So I did the idiotic thing and tried to make it on my own."

Interviewer: "And how did that work out for you?"

Avery: "I got kidnapped, twice. Yeah, it could have gone better."

Interviewer: Our readers would like to know why you chose to stick by Avery's side when you had justifiable reason to believe that she was turning.

Cable: "Most guys probably would have left her behind, but I'm not most guys. No matter how twisted this world gets, I have to believe that there is still good in it. Still hope that the world can go back to the way it was before. If I'd left her behind, I'd be no better than the people I try to keep in line on the streets."

Interviewer: "So then Cable saved you again?"

Avery: "Yeah. He's got this really annoying hero complex, but after a while you sort of get used to it. Actually, I guess that's not really being fair. Cable's a good guy and those are really rare in this world, especially now. I owe him a lot and that's hard to admit."

Interviewer: "So with the world changing rapidly around you, how did you decide what the best course of action might be to stay alive?"

Avery: "People."

Interviewer: "Can you elaborate on that?"

Avery: "Look, when you're out there and your ass is on the line, you need someone there to watch over it for you. You can't do it on your own. Well, you probably could for a short time, but eventually you're going to slip up. I had to learn that even though I may not have wanted people in my life, I did need them."

Interviewer: Did you always know that you would head south? Was there a specific reason for that direction choice?

Cable: "Let's just call it a feeling. I just...I guess I felt drawn there. I know that doesn't make any sense, but it's the truth."

Interviewer: Could the location of your brother have had anything to do with it?

Cable: "Lenny? Yeah, I guess it’s possible. Maybe I wanted a familiar face around while we tried to figure things out. Lenny is a good guy. Someone you can depend on. He's a survivor."

Interviewer: "So I've heard rumors about a possible budding relationship between Cable and yourself? Any truth to it?"

Avery: "No comment."

Interviewer: Cable, you don't seem like a man of many words. Have you always been like that?

Cable: "Yeah. I spend a lot of time thinking, watching people. You can tell a lot about someone when you pause long enough to just watch."

Interviewer: Is that why you felt so strongly about Avery? You saw something in her that she didn't, right?

Cable: "It's easy to be blinded to the truth. Sometimes the walls we build aren't to keep people out, but to keep themselves from being seen. Avery is a tough girl, but she's got weak spots just like everyone else. She sees them as weakness but in reality it’s what makes her strongest."

Interviewer: "Interesting. One final question for you, Avery. After all that you've been through and seen, do you think the world has a chance of coming back from this apocalypse?"

Avery: "I really hope so...cause it’s freakin' messed up out there right now."

Interviewer: And Cable, do you think there will ever be a cure?

Cable: "Sure do. That's not what I'm worried about."

Interviewer: What are you worried about then?

Cable: "That there won't be anyone left alive to use it."

Thank you, Ms. Miles, for stopping by Lily's Reviews and for the insightful character interview!
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes author Victoria Sue to the blog with a guest post. Ms. Sue would also like to offer a free book from her collection for a lucky commenter. For a list of her books, please visit the Amazon link provided near the end of the post.

"How real do you like your paranormal?

Witches? Dragons? Superheroes? Or all of the above, hmm? Yeah, me too usually. But with my Enhanced World I wanted something a little different.

All my enhanced humans are merely humans. They haven’t been zapped by lightning, cloned by aliens, and have been no where near a magic wand. They don’t suck blood or change into animals.

Not that I’m not into shifters…or blood suckers even, but not for this series.

My enhanced characters are simply humans that are undergoing evolutionary changes that I may be guilty of speeding up a few thousand years or so – but that science tells us will be possible.

For example – one of my characters in the Human Enhanced Rescue Organization (HERO) team is called Gael Peterson. Gael has an over production of the KL4 gene in his body. The KL4 gene is present in everyone and what makes your skin waterproof. I moved this theory on a little and made it bullet proof. Here’s an excerpt from Five Minutes Longer:

“I want to know what just happened,” Finn demanded as they shut the truck doors.

“You okay?” Vance asked Gael as Gael winced a little and took his shirt off. Vance brushed a hand over Gael’s back. No bullet hole, no blood.

Finn looked at the material on the shirt suspiciously, then picked it up. He carefully poked his finger through the hole in the back where the bullet had gone through, and with a sinking feeling, raised his eyes to where Vance was watching him steadily.

He thought a second before he ran his mouth off. Then he turned to Talon, who was sitting quietly in the front seat, watching him. “So next time someone’s waving a gun around, can I stand next to Gael, boss?” Finn asked innocently.

Gael guffawed and slapped Finn on the back. Finn tried not to wince.

“I take it this is your other ability? What is it, rapid healing?” Finn frowned. That still didn’t explain the lack of blood, though.

“Not exactly,” Gael answered.

“Gael,” Sawyer said warningly.

Gael looked at the guys sitting around the truck. “We’ve got a decision to make. We can’t work as a team without trust.” He looked at Finn. “To be honest the TV cameras saw me take the bullet, saw me move fast. There’s going to be questions anyway.”

Finn took a breath. “I know you don’t trust me.”

Talon interjected. “It’s not as easy as that. Even Gregory doesn’t know all our abilities, and we can’t expect you to lie if you’re asked a direct question.”

“I can change the…. I dunno.” Gael shrugged. “Last year I got skin cancer.”

Finn gaped.

“Cutaneous Melanoma, to give it its full title.” Gael’s scars twisted when he tried to smile. “It was shit really. It’s the most aggressive form of cancer, and you’re pretty much out of luck if it’s spread.” Gael gazed at Finn. “Mine had. Anyway, Talon and Gregory gave me a chance. We can’t get health insurance, and because the team wasn’t official, the bureau wasn’t gonna pay for anything…. So you met the Doc?”

Finn nodded.

“Well, turns out her daddy is one of the most renowned dermatologists there are, and he was fascinated with me. I had a shit-ton of tests, and I was waiting for the results when we were asked to help with a special op last year. Drug running, but they thought an enhanced was behind it, so they asked for our help… unofficially.”

Finn returned Gael’s smile automatically, even though his heart was doing its best to escape his chest.

“Things went wrong, and Talon got knocked out so he couldn’t help. They had Vance pinned down and were just going to shoot him. I thought, what the hell. It was likely I was going to die anyway so—”

“What he means is, he threw himself at the dick-head with the Tec-9 that was just about to blow my brains out,” Vance interrupted.

Gael chuckled. “The thing happened with my skin like you saw today. None of the bullets touched me. I went for a load of tests, and they found out there’s something called a Klf4 gene in everyone that is responsible for making human skin a barrier. Anyway, I won’t bore you with science, but basically the levels of it in me are off the charts. This gene doesn’t just protect the skin, though—it can have something to do with melanoma and other cancers. The doc called it ‘a double edged sword.’”

Finn swallowed. “It’s an activator and a repressor. That means it helps as well as harms.”

“How the hell do you know all this shit?” Sawyer burst out.

Finn shrugged. “It took me so long to learn to read, once I had, there was no stopping me.”

“Anyway, my skin changing didn’t just save Vance. When I got back and went to Doc’s, all traces of my cancer had gone, and Gregory doesn’t know because Doc’s father doesn’t work for the FBI. Doctor-patient privilege.”

“We keep it secret because we don’t want to end up as lab rats,” Talon said quietly, his blue gaze resting on Finn’s.

Finn frowned. “Secrecy won’t necessarily help that, though. The public knows you saved Cryer’s life—they’re gonna be more on your side.”

“Agreed with provisos,” Talon said. “I don’t want a perp suddenly deciding to see if Gael can withstand armor-piercing rounds.”

They all winced.

Talon started the truck and looked around at everyone. “We agreed on secrecy a long time ago. I get where Finn is coming from, but I’m not gonna insist on it. You all will have to come to your own decision.”

Without waiting for a reply, Talon added, “Gregory wants us back at the office.”

Finn stared at his back. He hadn’t forgotten what that reporter said, and despite his nice little speech there, he hadn’t done any sharing. Finn now knew more about Gael than Talon. What he knew about Talon, Vance had told him, and Talon was supposed to be his partner, not just a member of the team. It all came down to trust. Talon gave him no direction out there. He didn’t even tell Finn to stay with him. That showed a glaring lack of trust as far as he was concerned.

He gazed out of the window. He was squashed up against the door, as Gael’s bulk sat next to him. He thought about what that reporter said about Talon. Had Talon really lost control and killed his father? Finn remembered the tightness in his chest when Talon demonstrated his ability on him, how he couldn’t breathe, how he couldn’t move.

Maybe Finn should be the one not trusting the team, not the other way around.

Did you know a human can actually change their DNA? I simplified it a little (maybe more than a little) but there’s a whole science called Epigenetics behind that question. Epigenetics doesn’t come in until the second book – One Step Sideways, but it’s just as fascinating as someone getting bullet-proof skin from the same gene that develops in the uterus to make a baby’s skin waterproof.

The third book in the series – Beneath This Mask will be out in January. Here’s the blurb from the first book—Five Minutes Longer—to explain what it’s all about.

Talon Valdez knew that when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced are viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI since he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with fatal abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives are at stake—four weeks for them to survive.

I can’t wait to see everyone at Coastal Magic! Don’t forget to check out our event on Friday night. Charlie Cochet, Mary Calmes, Poppy Dennison and I are hosting “Take Your Alpha To The Beach” and there will be cocktails, goodies, and prizes to be had.

Victoria Sue…

Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but when she ran out of library books she decided to write her own. Loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—especially with a paranormal twist—but always with a happy ending. Is an English northern lass currently serving twenty to life in Florida—unfortunately, she spends more time chained to her computer than on a beach.

Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.

Where to find the author:
Victoria Sue's Amazon Page
Web Site
Facebook – sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha

Thank you very much, Ms. Sue, for stopping by Lily's Reviews!
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For September, Lily's Reviews also welcomes author Jessica Scott, who was kind enough to do an interview.

Lily's Reviews: Do you listen to music while writing?
Jessica Scott: Yes, I almost always listen to music when I write. It varies, but I’m most productive when I have a song stuck in my head.

LR: If you could live near any of your characters or within any of the worlds you create, which would it be?
JS: Back in Durham. I loved living there.

LR: Out of all your works, which pairing (only one) would you choose to and why?
I think Noah and Beth are probably my favorite. That is a very personal book to me for a lot of different reasons.

LR: Who is your favorite character to write?
JS: He’s a character from my very first series, but Vic Carponti was always my favorite to write.

LR: What’s your favorite series to write?
JS: I'm enjoying the Falling series very much. It keeps surprising me on where it’s going.

LR: What makes you decide to end a series?
JS: When I lose the joy of working on it and when sales simply don’t support continuing.

LR: What was your job before being a writer? What did you study in college?
JS: I’m a full time Army officer and I have a Ph.D. in sociology.

LR: What made you become a writer?
JS: I needed a place to put all of the stories in my head and to unpack a lot of the stuff from deployment and my time in the Army.

LR: Do the seasons have any influence on what you want to write?
JS: No, but I love reading a good Christmas story.

LR: Who is the most challenging character to write and why?
JS: I think Caleb in a forthcoming book is going to be a real pain to write. Mostly because I didn’t really like him for most of the Falling series, to be honest. But he’s starting to grow on me.

LR: Describe a day in the life of Jessica Scott.
JS: Get the kids off to school, teach most mornings, lunch, email, admin work, home, dinner, put the kids to bed and then hopefully have some time with my husband before we both collapse and do it all again the next day.

LR: Do you compile any playlists while writing a book that is specific to that book?
JS: Sometimes I do but mostly my books end up with 2 or 3 songs that run through my head in various parts of writing each one.

Thank you, Ms. Scott for stopping by Lily's Reviews.
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Lily's Reviews welcomes Mary Calmes to the blog.

Ms. Calmes has written a few words about some of her favorite interactions.

Favorite fan interactions at previous Coastal Magic conventions

Last year at Coastal I was talking to fans who are also friends in between panels and we got onto the subject of Easter eggs and how many I have and Easter eggs versus cameos and how many characters have appeared in other books and it was wonderful. I love talking about my characters so much and hearing theories from others is simply the best thing ever.

Most asked questions versus questions you would like to hear asked more?
I love any and all questions. The ones where fans ask if a certain character did or did not kill someone or if a certain character got what's coming to them, are really fun as are theories about what really motivated a character to do what they did. But questions about reading order or how come Acrobat isn't under the A Matter of Time umbrella are also fun. Really and truly, I love them all. I'm always so thrilled when people care enough to ask me about my work. It's such a gift.

Do you think it would be possible to expand on the following: Easter eggs in terms of writing for those who (like me) may sort of know what it means, but not quite. :)

An Easter egg may be something like simply an appearance in another book or an entire different series. When Kane Morgan from Rhys Ford's Sinners series showed up in the second marshals book, a lot of people were excited. That was a really fun Easter egg because for fans of that series, it was oh so good to see Kane. For people who didn't know who he was, when they asked if I was going to write a book about him, I could send them right there to that series of wonderful books. It's also like Sam Kage being Miro's boss in the marshals. Lots of new fans were like, will there be a book about him and I got to say, there are 5. Also the crossover from book to book like Rand's lawyer in When The Dust Settles is Rick Jenner who met his wife in Jory's books and pops up somewhere in most of those. So it's the progression of characters in different books that people can be surprised and happy to see again.

And, from the second part, what theory or two stands out from those speculated on.

Theories like when Joey Romelli died in Acrobat, was Dreo the one who did in fact kill him? A lot of people were adamant that he did not, but if you read Dreo's dialogue and follow his character arc, you know that to protect Nate and Michael, either of them, he'd do anything. It's the like the guys in the park who hassle everyone, including Nate. Those guys are gone the next time Nate walks by and we're never clear if they'd just moved on of if they're gone, gone. But that one stands out, that Dreo didn't kill Joey Romelli when in fact, he most certainly did. Or like in the second L'Ange book, people were certain that it would be Arman and Tucker, that they had slept together. But that information was from Quade, from Quade's POV, and he thought they'd slept together but he never knew definitively. He's an unreliable narrator about himself and his own merits but also about others. So when that book came out and it was Arman and Linus instead, some people were surprised. But because it's first-person, unless its confirmed by others, it should not be taken as fact. Or when Miro finds out that Rego James killed Carrington Adams. In the AMOT books, we think that Adams brought James in, that he was the one to do that, but he was in fact not. James killed him but we don't learn that until the second marshal book, Fit To Be Tied. Discussing theories is a favorite thing of mine.

Thank you, Ms. Calmes, for stopping by Lily's Reviews!
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes author KC Burn.

From KC Burn's website: "I’ve been writing for what feels like my whole life. I’m a sucker for a happy ending (get your mind out of the gutters!) so it’s been romance almost all the way. After moving from Toronto to Florida for my hubby to take a dream job, I discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled my own dream — getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day and at night, neglecting my supportive hubby and needy cat to write about men loving men, I was uprooted yet again, and now reside in California.

Writing is always fun, despite the hard work, but writing about my guys is more fun than I’ve had in a long time. Love between consenting adults is a beautiful thing, and should be celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation. I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I love writing them."

Now, the fun part :) :

Lily's Reviews (LR): Do you listen to music while writing?

KC Burn: Absolutely. The music doesn’t in any way inspire or influence my stories, but it definitely helps keeps my butt in the chair!

LR: If you could live near any of your characters or within any of the worlds you create, which would it be?

KB: LOL. Well, most of my contemporary stuff is located near places I’ve lived. However, as for my paranormal and sci-fi stuff, I’d definitely have to say probably the world of my Galactic Alliance series. Interplanetary travel and sentient aliens would be the coolest thing.

LR: Out of all your works, which pairing (only one) would you choose to and why?

KB: What a difficult question! Probably Tyler and Maxwell from Illusion of Life. It was such a challenge to write that story, since the two don’t actually meet until well after halfway through the book, that I have a real soft spot for the two of them.

LR: Who is your favorite character to write?

KB: Most of my characters are dear to me, and the answer to this question would probably vary depending on which day you ask me but today I’m going to say Gideon Arcturus from Voodoo ‘n’ Vice. He was so buttoned up, so rules oriented that he almost causes a galactic incident in Alien ‘n’ Outlaw, and I need to redeem him to the point of being a sympathetic hero deserving of love in Voodoo ‘n’ Vice. I definitely adored writing him.

LR: What’s your favorite series to write?

KB: All of them! That may sound weird, but there are reasons why I like all the series I write. But if I’m forced to choose, I’m going to say MIA Case Files. A little bit campy, a whole lot of fun, and a lot of sex. I had a blast writing those.

LR: What makes you decide to end a series?

KB: My problem is too many ideas, too little time. After about three books, I certainly have plenty of ideas with which to continue a series, but other plot bunnies usually start screaming about that time. I do intend to continue my Galactic Alliance series, though, and I could easily go back and pick up any of my existing series, no problem.

LR: What was your job before being a writer? What did you study in college?

KB: Ha! How about what’s my job WHILE being a writer! My day job is website development, and while I might at some point be able to ditch the day job, at the moment I need to keep my health care. As for university, I have a degree in Physical Anthropology and another in Medieval History. Neither of which have been particularly useful since, although I used the evolutionary biology aspects of the first degree to help develop my aliens in my Galactic Alliance series.

LR: It must have been interesting to study. I love Medieval History myself (and my own 'research section' proves it). What made you become a writer?

KB: I’ve always been a reader, and when I was ten my dad gave me a copy of The Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings. That was it. Game over. I knew then I wanted to be a writer.

LR: Do the seasons have any influence on what you want to write?

KB: Nope! I live in California now, and seasons are apparently nonexistent down here. I’m working on a Christmas story now, and writing about snow and sleet when it’s been years since I’ve lived in that sort of environment is always a bit challenging.

LR: Who is the most challenging character to write and why?

KB: R’kos, my alien protagonist from Alien ‘n’ Outlaw, hands down. One of the trickiest things is to create an alien that is sexually appealing, with enough differences to be “alien” but with enough similarities to enable them to create relationships with humans. Tricky, tricky. He was definitely a challenge.

LR: Which perfume/scent matches each main character?

KB: Generally, I don’t consider scent much. Adam, from Wolfsbane, though, had a particular scent that I had to scour the cologne counters to get just the right one. However… since colognes aren’t MY thing, and I didn’t name the scent in the book, I can’t remember exactly which one it was. It came in a blue bottle. If only I’d made notes… But I’m just not that organized.

LR: Describe a day in the life of KC Burn.

KB: Super dull, unfortunately. Feed the cat, feed the hubby, fire up the laptop to start my work day. Once that’s done, I try to do some writing, then start dinner. Feed the cat. After dinner, if I’m not on deadline, hubby and I will watch TV or play board games (our current favorites are Castles of Mad King Ludwig and TIME Stories). If I’m on deadline, then it’s back to the computer for more writing. That’s about it.

LR: Which character do you most relate to?

KB: A lot of my characters are fish out of water, and that’s often how I feel. However, the one that is absolutely closest to me is Dean Murphy from Three Dates of Christmas. I’m definitely a Christmas Grinch, because I also spent many years in retail, and it’s really, really hard to retain goodwill after that.

LR: Do you compile any playlists while writing a book that is specific to that book?

KB: Nope, just listen to my regular collection of music. I have such narrow musical tastes that there’s little point in separating things out into playlists.

LR: Huge thank you to KC Burn for stopping by Lily's Reviews!

KC Burn may be found at:
KC Burn
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Lily's Reviews welcomes author Aria Kane to the blog for an interview.

Welcome Ms. Kane - very glad to have you here!

Lily's Reviews: Do you like to listen to music while writing?

Aria Kane: Yes! I actually did a panel two years ago at Coastal Magic about music and writing. I often use music to help me establish the mood of a scene I’m writing, so my playlists are more about that than book-specific.

LR: If you could live near any of your characters or within any of the worlds you create, which would it be?

AK: I’d love to be friends with Derek and Andy from One Lucky Night! I’d go to the pub Derek works at and Andy’s always great if you need anything fixed around the house :-) Plus, Derek knows how everyone takes their coffee!

LR: Who is your favorite character to write?

AK: Erik from Once Upon a Darkness was probably my favorite character ever. He’s a huge guy, rough around the edges, but also kinda a teddy bear. One day, I’m going to write a book for him.

LR: What was your job before being a writer? What did you study in college?

AK: I actually still have a day job as an event planner for a library and it’s the best job ever! I studied Mechanical Engineering in college and worked in that industry for a few years, but I hated my life most days.

LR: What made you become a writer?

AK: I had always been interested in writing, but when educators found out I was good at math & science, I got pushed pretty hard in that direction. I enjoyed the coursework, but once I got in the industry, I was pretty miserable. I was a project engineer and found myself in upstate New York in late Autumn (i.e. more snow than I’d ever seen in my life) with no friends and lots of free time. That’s when I started writing again and I was hooked.

LR: Do the seasons have any influence on what you want to write?

AK: I live in Florida and we don’t really have seasons. Haha! Though you can see from my previous question that snowy weather was partly responsible for me getting into writing.

LR: Describe a day in the life of Aria Kane.

There really is no typical day. I’m an event planner so even my dayjob schedule isn’t regular. On top of that, I have some health issues, so some days I can do the bare minimum and some days I can’t stop writing. I try to work on something every day, whether it’s writing a book, taking care of emails, writing articles for Book Riot, or promo. Some days it doesn’t happen though. I’m also an incurable extrovert so I have a lively social life.

LR: Thank you very much for stopping by the blog!

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance author. As a military brat, she grew up all over the country, but now lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he's a Chihuahua.

She also writes young adult books as Sarah Nicolas.

Find her on Twitter @sarah_nicolas and on Instagram at @presidentsarah.


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